GHURA executive director files ethics complaint against senator Telo Taitague

GHURA Executive Director Ray Topasna (PNC file photo)

Guam Housing and Urban Renewal Authority director Ray Topasna has filed an ethics complaint against Senator Telo Taitague, alleging that the senator made defamatory remarks against him.

On May 19, 2020, during a confirmation hearing for Anisia Delia to the GHURA Board of Commissioners, Topasna said Taitague made defamatory statements regarding his character.

Topasna said this is in direct violation of the Standard Operating Procedure: Virtual Public Hearings (as adopted on May 1, 2020), Section 3.02 (b) (7), which states “Questions and testimony shall be confined to the substance or nature of the agenda. Personal inference as to the character or the motive of any Senator, or any individual testifying, is NOT permitted. Any violations of this general rule of conduct will result in removal from the Public Hearing by the Host.”

Topasna said: “Unfortunately, the Host, which most appropriately should have been Oversight Legislative Chairman San Agustin, did not act accordingly by removing Senator Taitague from the virtual public hearing. Nonetheless, the defamatory statements are all on official record. Senator Taitague also went as far as to advise appointee Delia to reconsider her appointment by the Governor to the GHURA Board and clearly inferred that I had intentions to pursue a lawsuit against Ms. Delia. This statement is completely false. Defamatory statements such as these could discourage future public testimony, or discourage individuals from accepting appointments to any board.”

According to Topasna, the Legislature’s ethics committee has the option of censuring Senator Taitague’s conduct “as I am informed that she has made defamatory remarks against other public officials during subsequent public hearings. Should the Committee reach a decision that Senator Taitague’s statements do not rise to the level of improper conduct, at the very least, the Committee should issue a public statement criticizing Senator Taitague’s conduct.”